Mission Areas

Ecosystems

Mission Areas L2 Landing Page Tabs

Filter Total Items: 594
Date published: June 22, 2018
Status: Active

White-Nose Syndrome

Since the winter of 2006-07, millions of North American bats have died from white-nose syndrome (WNS). As of September 2015, bats with WNS were confirmed in 26 states and five Canadian provinces.

White-nose syndrome gets its name from the white fungus, Pseudogymnoascus destructans, which infects the skin on the muzzle, ears, and wings of hibernating bats and was ...

Contacts: Earl Campbell
Date published: June 22, 2018
Status: Active

Avian Malaria

Avian malaria is a mosquito-borne disease of birds caused by a protozoan parasite (Plasmodium relictum). P. relictum reproduces in avian red blood cells. If the parasite load is sufficiently high, the bird loses red blood cells (anemia). Because red blood cells are critical for moving oxygen about the body, loss of these cells can lead to progressive weakness and, eventually...

Contacts: Earl Campbell
Date published: June 22, 2018
Status: Active

Rapid ‘Ōhi‘a Death

USGS has been involved in the response to Rapid Ohi’a Death since its detection in 2015, and is part of the multi-organizational Rapid Ohi’a Death Working Group which was formed to share information and coordinate research, resource management and outreach activities.

Contacts: Earl Campbell
Date published: June 21, 2018
Status: Active

Risk Assessment

USGS research focuses on developing and enhancing capabilities to forecast and predict invasive species establishment and spread. Early detection helps resource managers identify and report new invasive species, especially for cryptic species and those in very low abundance, to better assess risks to natural areas. Tracking the establishment and spread of existing and new invasive species is...

Contacts: Earl Campbell
Date published: June 21, 2018
Status: Active

Native Populations

USGS researchers monitor native populations for threats of invading species to improving understanding of the ecology of invaders and factors in resistance of habitats to invasion.

Contacts: Earl Campbell
Date published: June 21, 2018
Status: Active

Best Management Practices

Best management practices (BMPs) can be used to help prevent the spread of invasive species and help mitigate the consequences of invasive species once they have become established. BMPs provide a framework for natural resource managers to follow to effectively deal with, and prevent the spread of, invasive species.

Contacts: Earl Campbell
Date published: June 20, 2018
Status: Active

Species Reintroduction

The USGS develops strategies and techniques to understand and facilitate restoration of native species and habitats affected by invasive species.  This is critical because control without restoration can leave the ecosystem vulnerable to subsequent reinvasion by the same or additional invasive species.  

Contacts: Earl Campbell
Date published: June 20, 2018
Status: Active

Habitat Restoration

The USGS develops strategies and techniques to understand and facilitate restoration of native species and habitats affected by invasive species. This is critical because control without restoration can leave the ecosystem vulnerable to subsequent reinvasion by the same or additional invasive species.The USGS develops strategies and techniques to understand and facilitate restoration of native...

Contacts: Earl Campbell
Date published: June 20, 2018
Status: Active

Integrated Pest Management / Adaptive Management

A focus of USGS research is to integrate control strategies where applicable to empower land and water
managers to respond rapidly to a wide variety of new invasions across the United States.

Contacts: Earl Campbell
Date published: June 11, 2018
Status: Active

Past and Future Modeling of Ecological Indicators for the South Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative

The South Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative (LCC) has developed a Conservation Blueprint: a “living spatial plan to conserve natural and cultural resources for future generations.” This blueprint is a data-driven plan based on terrestrial, freshwater, marine, and cross-ecosystem indicators to measure the overall health of South...

Date published: June 11, 2018
Status: Active

Collecting Ecological Data and Models of Living Shoreline Restoration Projects

Developing effective living shoreline restoration projects that can withstand hurricanes and storms requires a better understanding of how restoration structures reduce the impact of wave and current energy on marsh edges in estuaries and bays. Without this knowledge, existing living shoreline projects and adaptive management measures are more likely to fail, decreasing the possibility for...

Date published: June 8, 2018
Status: Active

Geographic Information System and Remote Sensing Support: Gulf Coast Joint Venture

The Gulf Coast Joint Venture (GCJV) was established in 1988 as a result of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan, which espouses the restoration of continental waterfowl populations through conservation partnerships in priority habitat regions. Since that time GCJV partners have expanded their mission and purpose to include the provision of habitat to support other priority bird species...

Filter Total Items: 69
Date published: February 8, 2017

The North American Breeding Bird Survey, Results and Analysis 1966 - 2015

This website presents population change information for more than 400 species of North American birds, as estimated from the North American Breeding Bird Survey. Estimates of trend (interval-specific estimates of population change), annual indices of abundance, and maps of abundance and population change for these species are presented for a variety of regions.

Date published: February 8, 2017

North American Amphibian Monitoring Program (NAAMP) anuran detection data from the eastern and central United States (1994-2015)

The North American Amphibian Monitoring Program (NAAMP) was a collaborative citizen science effort between the US Geological Survey (USGS) and 26 Partners (state agencies, universities, and nonprofits) for monitoring calling amphibian populations over much of the eastern and central United States.

Date published: February 2, 2017

A Multiscale Index of Landscape Intactness for the Western United States

Landscape intactness has been defined as a quantifiable estimate of naturalness measured on a gradient of anthropogenic influence. We developed a multiscale index of landscape intactness for the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) landscape approach, which requires multiple scales of information to quantify the cumulative effects of land use.

Date published: February 2, 2017

North American Aquatic Macroinvertebrate Digital Reference Collection (NAAMDRC)

Aquatic invertebrates are a key component of freshwater ecosystems, and an understanding of aquatic invertebrate taxonomy is central to freshwater science. The North American Aquatic Macroinvertebrate Digital Reference Collection (NAAMDRC) was created by the USGS Aquatic Experimental Lab (AXL) to provide users with high-quality digital microscopy photographs.

Date published: January 30, 2017

Field Guide to the Nonindigenous Marine Fishes of Florida

The purpose of this field guide is to provide information on nonindigenous (i.e., non-native) fishes that have been observed in Florida’s marine waters.

Date published: January 27, 2017

Mean of the Top Ten Percent of NDVI Values in the Yuma Proving Ground during Monsoon Season, 1986-2011

This study uses growth in vegetation during the monsoon season measured from LANDSAT imagery as a proxy for measured rainfall. NDVI values from 26 years of pre- and post-monsoon season Landsat imagery were derived across Yuma Proving Ground (YPG) in southwestern Arizona, USA.

Date published: December 1, 2016

DATA RELEASE - TsezhinBii Field and Summary Data, Navajo Nation, Arizona, 2004

These data provide the locational coordinates, soil texture characteristics, plant species occurrence and cover, and vegetation summary characteristics for the Tsezhin bii region in the south-central area of the Navajo Nation.

Date published: October 31, 2016

USGS Dam Removal Information Portal (DRIP)

The Dam Removal Information Portal is a Web site that serves information about the scientific studies associated with dam-removal projects. It is a visualization tool, including a map and interactive charts, of a dam-removal literature review designed and developed by a working group at the USGS John Wesley Powell Center for Analysis and...

Date published: October 1, 2016

Approved Data Releases

This public folder contains approved data release products produced by the USGS Western Ecologial Research Center. This folder also includes metadata that will be harvested and displayed by the USGS Science Data Catalog ( http://data.usgs.gov/datacatalog) to improve access and discovery. 

Date published: July 14, 2016

Diamondback Terrapins in Chesapeake Bay, 2002 Beach Survey

The survey was conducted in summer 2002 to assess the presence of terrapins in the Maryland portion of the Chesapeake Bay. Results are spatial locations of evidence related to nesting.

Date published: May 2, 2016

Evidence of Absence Webinar

This video describes a statistical software package called "Evidence of Absence" that can be used to provide evidence of compliance with incidental take permits. It will be useful to wildlife managers and wind energy operators to estimate, with reasonable certainty, that a certain number of birds or bats have been killed at wind energy facilities, even when no carcasses are found.

Date published: April 27, 2016

South Florida Information Access (SOFIA)

South Florida Information Access (SOFIA) was established to provide coherent information access in support of research, decision-making, and resource management for the South Florida ecosystem restoration effort.

Filter Total Items: 2,311
Year Published: 2018

Effects of experimental removal of Barred Owls on population demography of Northern Spotted Owls in Washington and Oregon—2017 progress report

Populations of Northern Spotted Owls (Strix occidentalis caurina; hereinafter referred to as Spotted Owl) are declining throughout this subspecies’ geographic range. Evidence indicates that competition with invading populations of Barred Owls (S. varia) has contributed significantly to those declines. A pilot study in California showed that...

Wiens, J. David; Dugger, Katie M.; Lesmeister, Damon B.; Dilione, Krista E.; Simon, David C.
Wiens, J.D., Dugger, K.M., Lesmeister, D.B., Dilione, K.E., and Simon, D.C., 2018, Effects of experimental removal of Barred Owls on population demography of Northern Spotted Owls in Washington and Oregon—2017 progress report: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2018–1086, 23 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20181086.

Year Published: 2018

Examining speed versus selection in connectivity models using elk migration as an example

ContextLandscape resistance is vital to connectivity modeling and frequently derived from resource selection functions (RSFs). RSFs estimate relative probability of use and tend to focus on understanding habitat preferences during slow, routine animal movements (e.g., foraging). Dispersal and migration, however, can produce rarer, faster movements...

Brennan, Angela; Hanks, Ephraim M.; Merkle, Jerod A.; Cole, Eric K.; Dewey, Sarah R.; Courtemanch, Alyson B.; Cross, Paul C.
Brennan, A, EM Hanks, JA Merkle, EK Cole, SR Dewey, AB Courtemanch, and PC Cross. 2018. Examining speed versus selection in connectivity models using elk migration as an example. Landscape Ecology. 00:000-000

Year Published: 2018

Ecological genomics predicts climate vulnerability in an endangered southwestern songbird

Few regions have been more severely impacted by climate change in the USA than the Desert Southwest. Here, we use ecological genomics to assess the potential for adaptation to rising global temperatures in a widespread songbird, the willow flycatcher (Empidonax traillii), and find the endangered desert southwestern subspecies (E. t. extimus) most...

Ruegg, Kristin; Bay, Rachael A.; Anderson, Eric C.; Saracco, James F.; Harrigan, Ryan J.; Whitfield, Mary J.; Paxton, Eben H.; Smith, Thomas B.
Ruegg, K., R. A. Bay, E. C. Anderson, J. F. Saracco, R. J. Harrigan, M. Whitfield, E. H. Paxton, and T. B. Smith. 2018. Ecological genomics predicts climate vulnerability in an endangered southwestern songbird. Ecology Letters 21:1085–1096. Available: https://doi.org/10.1111/ele.12977

Year Published: 2018

Ecosystems science: Genes to landscapes

Bountiful fisheries, healthy and resilient wildlife, flourishing forests and vibrant grasslands are coveted resources that benefit all Americans. U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) science supports the conservation and management of the Nation’s fish and wildlife, and the landscapes they inhabit. Our biological resources—ecosystems and the wild things...

Attribution: Ecosystems
U.S. Geological Survey, 2018, Ecosystems science--Genes to landscapes: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2018-3030, 4 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/fs20183030.

Year Published: 2018

Characterization of Plasmodium relictum, a cosmopolitan agent of avian malaria

BackgroundMicroscopic research has shown that Plasmodium relictum is the most common agent of avian malaria. Recent molecular studies confirmed this conclusion and identified several mtDNA lineages, suggesting the existence of significant intra-species genetic variation or cryptic speciation. Most identified lineages have a broad range...

Valkiunas, Gediminas; Ilgūnas, Mikas; Bukauskaitė, Dovilė; Fragner, Karin; Weissenböck, Herbert; Atkinson, Carter T.; Iezhova, Tatjana
Valkiūnas, G., M. Ilgūnas, D. Bukauskaitė, K. Fragner, H. Weissenböck, C. T. Atkinson, and T. A. Iezhova. 2018. Characterization of Plasmodium relictum, a cosmopolitan agent of avian malaria. Malaria Journal 17:184.

Year Published: 2018

Rivers are social–ecological systems: Time to integrate human dimensions into riverscape ecology and management

Incorporation of concepts from landscape ecology into understanding and managing riverine ecosystems has become widely known as riverscape ecology. Riverscape ecology emphasizes interactions among processes at different scales and their consequences for valued ecosystem components, such as riverine fishes. Past studies have focused strongly on...

Dunham, Jason B.; Angermeier, Paul L.; Crausbay, Shelley D.; Cravens, Amanda; Gosnell, Hannah; McEvoy, Jamie; Moritz, Max A.; Raheem, Nejem; Sanford, Todd
Dunham, J.B., Angermeier, P.L., Crausbay, S., Cravens, A., Gosnell, H., McEvoy, J., Moritz, M., Raheem, N., Sanford, T., 2018, Rivers are social–ecological systems- Time to integrate human dimensions into riverscape ecology and management: WIREs Water, p. online, https://doi.org/10.1002/wat2.1291.

Year Published: 2018

Biology and impacts of Pacific Islands invasive species. 14. Sus scrofa the feral pig (Artiodactyla: Suidae)

Feral pigs (Sus scrofa L.) are perhaps the most abundant, widespread, and economically significant large introduced vertebrate across the Pacific island region. Unlike many other nonnative invasive species, feral pigs have both cultural and recreational importance in the region, complicating their management. Today, Pacific island feral pigs...

Wehr, Nathaniel H. ; Hess, Steven C.; Litton, Creighton M.

Year Published: 2018

Spatial, road geometric, and biotic factors associated with Barn Owl mortality along an interstate highway

Highway programs typically focus on reducing vehicle collisions with large mammals because of economic or safety reasons while overlooking the millions of birds that die annually from traffic. We studied wildlife‐vehicle collisions along an interstate highway in southern Idaho, USA, with among the highest reported rates of American Barn Owl ...

Arnold, Erin M.; Hanser, Steven E.; Regan, Tempe; Thompson, Jeremy; Lowe, Melinda; Kociolek, Angela; Belthoff, James R.
Attribution: Ecosystems
Arnold, E.M., Hanser, S.E., Regan, T., Thompson, J., Lowe, M., Kociolek, A. and Belthoff, J.R., Spatial, road geometric, and biotic factors associated with Barn Owl mortality along an interstate highway. Ibis.

Year Published: 2018

Monitoring stream temperatures—A guide for non-specialists

Executive SummaryWater temperature influences most physical and biological processes in streams, and along with streamflows is a major driver of ecosystem processes. Collecting data to measure water temperature is therefore imperative, and relatively straightforward. Several protocols exist for collecting stream temperature data, but these are...

Heck, Michael P.; Schultz, Luke D.; Hockman-Wert, David; Dinger, Eric C.; Dunham, Jason B.
Heck, M.P., Schultz, L.D., Hockman-Wert, D., Dinger, E.C., and Dunham, J.B., 2018, Monitoring stream temperatures—A guide for non-specialists: U.S. Geological Survey Techniques and Methods, book 3, chap. A25, 76 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/tm3A25.

Year Published: 2018

Evaluating autonomous acoustic surveying techniques for rails in tidal marshes

There is a growing interest toward the use of autonomous recording units (ARUs) for acoustic surveying of secretive marsh bird populations. However, there is little information on how ARUs compare to human surveyors or how best to use ARU data that can be collected continuously throughout the day. We used ARUs to conduct 2 acoustic surveys for...

Stiffler, Lydia L.; Anderson, James T.; Katzner, Todd
Stiffler, L.L., Anderson, J.T., Katzner, T.E., 2018, Evaluating autonomous acoustic surveying techniques for rails in tidal marshes: Wildlife Society Bulletin, p. online, https://doi.org/10.1002/wsb.860.

Year Published: 2018

Flight response to spatial and temporal correlates informs risk from wind turbines to the California Condor

Wind power is a fast-growing energy resource, but wind turbines can kill volant wildlife, and the flight behavior of obligate soaring birds can place them at risk of collision with these structures. We analyzed altitudinal data from GPS telemetry of critically endangered California Condors (Gymnogyps californianus) to assess the circumstances...

Poessel, Sharon; Brandt, Joseph; Mendenhall, Laura C.; Braham, Melissa A.; Lanzone, Michael J.; McGann, Andrew J.; Katzner, Todd
Poessel, S.A., Brandt, J., Mendenhall, L., Braham, M.A., Lanzone, M.J., McGann, A.J., Katzner, T.E., 2018, Flight response to spatial and temporal correlates informs risk from wind turbines to the California Condor: The Condor, v. 120, p. 330-342, https://doi.org/10.1650/CONDOR-17-100.1.

Year Published: 2018

New insights into the phylogenetics and population structure of the prairie falcon (Falco mexicanus)

BackgroundManagement requires a robust understanding of between- and within-species genetic variability, however such data are still lacking in many species. For example, although multiple population genetics studies of the peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus) have been conducted, no similar studies have been done of the closely-related prairie...

Doyle, Jacqueline M.; Bell, Douglas A.; Bloom, Peter H.; Emmons, Gavin; Fesnock, Amy; Katzner, Todd; LePre, Larry; Leonard, Kolbe; SanMiguel, Phillip; Westerman, Rick; DeWoody, J. Andrew
Doyle, J.M., Bell, D.A., Bloom, P.H., Emmons, G., Fesnock, A., Katzner, T.E., Lapre, L., Leonard, K., SanMiguel, P., Westerman, R., DeWoody, J.A., 2018, New insights into the phylogenetics and population structure of the prairie falcon (Falco mexicanus): BMC Genomics, v. 19, p. 233, https://doi.org/10.1186/s12864-018-4615-z.

Filter Total Items: 545
Blue SPV bait
December 31, 2017

Blue SPV bait

This image shows the blue version of sylvatic plague vaccine bait for prairie dogs. 

Prairie dogs in the wild are less likely to succumb to a deadly disease called sylvatic plague after they ingest peanut-butter-flavored bait that contains a vaccine against the disease.

In an effort to increase populations of endangered black-footed ferrets and conserve the

...
Corallimorph infestation on coral reef 2
December 31, 2017

Corallimorph infestation on coral reef 2

Coral reefs are prone to phase shifts where they quickly transition from coral-dominated to a uniformity of other organisms, typically algae. The Palmyra Atoll National Wildlife Refuge in the Central Pacific is a unique case where a transition from corals to corallimorphs occurred. Corallimorphs are a type of invasive

...
USGS
December 31, 2017

Big Brown Bat (Eptesicus fuscus) Call

Bats produce a variety of vocalizations that are used for navigation, feeding, and social communication. Most vocalizations are pitched well above the range of human hearing and are referred to as ultrasonic. These calls are often known as echolocation calls since bats use the echoes produced when a sound bounces off a bug or a building to determine what is in the area. 

...
Commercial poultry
December 31, 2017

Commercial poultry

Some avian influenza, or bird flu, viruses that are able to enter North America from other continents through migrating birds can be deadly to poultry and can infect waterfowl populations.

Attribution: Ecosystems
Sea Lamprey Larvae in Hand
December 31, 2017

Sea Lamprey Larvae in Hand

This image shows a sea lamprey in its larvae phase.

Slower sea lamprey growth rates during the larval phase of development may increase the odds of sea lampreys becoming male, according to a USGS study. Sea lampreys are an invasive, parasitic species of fish damaging the Great Lakes.

...
Corallimorph infestation on coral reef 3
December 31, 2017

Corallimorph infestation on coral reef 3

Coral reefs are prone to phase shifts where they quickly transition from coral-dominated to a uniformity of other organisms, typically algae. The Palmyra Atoll National Wildlife Refuge in the Central Pacific is a unique case where a transition from corals to corallimorphs occurred. Corallimorphs are a type of invasive

...
USGS
December 31, 2017

California myotis (Myotis californicus) Call

Bats produce a variety of vocalizations that are used for navigation, feeding, and social communication. Most vocalizations are pitched well above the range of human hearing and are referred to as ultrasonic. These calls are often known as echolocation calls since bats use the echoes produced when a sound bounces off a bug or a building to determine what is in the area. 

...
A desmid alga is bright red and green photographed in UV light
December 31, 2017

This single-celled alga is a natural ornament

It looks like a holiday ornament, but this lovely object is a single-celled freshwater alga from the desmid family, found in the marshes of Florida’s Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge. USGS biologist Barry Rosen photographed it at 200x magnification using ultraviolent light and a fluorescence microscope. Desmids range in size from under 10 microns—

...
Sea Lamprey Larvae on White Background
December 31, 2017

Sea Lamprey Larvae on White Background

This image shows a sea lamprey in its larvae phase.

Slower sea lamprey growth rates during the larval phase of development may increase the odds of sea lampreys becoming male, according to a USGS study. Sea lampreys are an invasive, parasitic species of fish damaging the Great Lakes.

...
Bats hibernating in cave
December 31, 2017

Bats hibernating in cave

Bats hibernating in a cave. 

Attribution: Ecosystems
Hibernating little brown bat
December 31, 2017

Hibernating little brown bat

little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus) with white-nose syndrome hibernating in a Virginia cave during late spring of 2016. Patches of the fungus that causes white-nose syndrome can be seen growing out of the skin (white areas) near the nose and across the folded wing skin of this bat.  Spherical drops of water condensation coat the bat's outer fur, a

...
Monarch on Joe Pyeweed plant
December 31, 2017

Monarch on Joe Pyeweed plant

Monarch butterfly on a Joe Pyeweed plant.

Filter Total Items: 332
Date published: March 9, 2018

Raptor Interactions with Wind Energy: Case Studies from Around the

Attempts to measure and mitigate the effects of wind turbines on wildlife have been an integral part of wind energy development.

Date published: March 9, 2018

Fire and Grazing Influence Site Resistance to Cheatgrass Invasion

Shrubs, bunchgrasses, and biological soil crusts (biocrusts) are believed to contribute to site resistance to plant invasions. 

Date published: March 9, 2018

Modeling Potential Beaver Habitat for Restoring Riparian Ecosystems

Beaver have the potential to restore riparian ecosystems and offset potential effects of climate change by modulating streamflow through dam-building and subsequent water storage.

Date published: March 2, 2018

Greater Sage-Grouse Science (2015-2017): Synthesis and Potential Management Implications

At the request of the BLM, the USGS worked with federal and state agency partners to develop a report that synthesizes the scientific literature published since records of decision were completed for 2015 BLM/USDA Forest Service land use plan amendments for greater sage-grouse, and provides potential management implications of the science.

Date published: March 1, 2018

Waterbirds at Risk in the Chesapeake Bay

Scientists investigate the impacts of shoreline armoring

Date published: February 22, 2018

USGS and NASA Team Up to Help Scientists Study the “Social Networks” of Wildlife

In the future of wildlife tracking, sea otters have their own social network.

Date published: February 1, 2018

Polar Bears Film Their Own Sea Ice World

In June of 2014, the USGS released the first-ever polar bear point-of-view footage, offering a never-seen-before perspective from the top Arctic predator.

Date published: January 19, 2018

Scientists, volunteers rescue about 1,000 cold-stunned sea turtles

Florida's second-largest turtle rescue of 21st century is “exhausting, inspiring,” USGS biologist says

Date published: January 16, 2018

New Information on Bat Fungus Improves Detection of Deadly Disease

The fungus that causes white-nose syndrome, a deadly disease of hibernating bats, spreads rapidly by way of bats, then establishes and persists in soil and on walls of underground hibernation sites, according to a study published today.

Date published: December 13, 2017

Taking the Bait: Majority of Prairie Dogs Are Consuming Plague Vaccine

About 70 percent of wild prairie dogs successfully ingested baits containing an oral sylvatic plague vaccine, or SPV, that were distributed throughout their habitats, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey study.

Date published: December 12, 2017

Saving Salamanders: Vital to Ecosystem Health

Amphibians—the big-eyed, swimming-crawling-jumping-climbing group of water and land animals that includes frogs, toads, salamanders and worm-like caecilians—are the world’s most endangered vertebrates.